10 Chrome extensions for developers

Google Chrome needs a little polish and enhancement to really work with us instead of just for us

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Credit: Google
Hooked on Google Chrome

As I mentioned in a recent Gearhead post, I’ve become hooked on Google’s Chrome browser. But as good as it is, like all software that becomes part of our routine workflows, it needs a little polish and enhancement to really work with us instead of just for us. That’s why we add extensions to browsers, and the add-on marketplace for Chrome is really amazing. Over the six years since Chrome’s launch I’ve tested literally hundreds of extensions and there are a handful of development-oriented add-ons that I now find I can’t live without.

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Window Resizer

Window Resizer lets you resize your browser window on the fly and is, at least in my work, incredibly useful. Clicking on the icon in the menu bar produces a dropdown menu of window sizes which you can customize, and you can even export Window Resizer settings so you can configure another machine similarly. The price of Window Resizer is “Buy me a coffee,” and it has a user rating of 4 out of 5.

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ColorPick Eyedropper

ColorPick Eyedropper is a simple color picker with an “eye dropper” tool that lets you sample the color of individual pixels. It also provides webpage region magnification/zoom loupe features. While the developer warns of problems particularly on OS X, I haven’t experienced any problems at all. ColorPick has a 4 out 5 user rating.

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Page Ruler

Page Ruler is, as its name implies, a tool for measuring stuff on Web pages. It adds a control and readout bar to the top of a page and provides a selection area with optional guidelines. You can move the edges of the selection area using the control bar and, in element mode, individual page elements and their sub- or parent elements are automatically selected, making it much faster to measure specific components. It's hugely useful and has a user rating of 4 out of 5.

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CSSViewer

CSSViewer is a CSS property viewer. It provides a floating panel that reports on the identity of the section that the mouse is over, along with its font, text, color, background, box, positioning and effects attributes. When you don’t want to fire up developer tools, CSSViewer gives the basic CSS information you need quickly. CSSViewer has a user rating of 4.5 out of 5.

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Form Fuzzer

Form Fuzzer is a “fuzzing” tool that can insert invalid, unexpected, or random data into forms for testing purposes. It can also insert predefined form data for regression testing. This is actually a very sophisticated and powerful tool that is hugely useful in Web development and has been upgraded very quickly to meet the requirements and complaints of users. Form Fuzzer is rated 3.5 out of 5 by users.

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Site Spider

If you need to find the broken links on your site and, perhaps, want to restrict spidering to a specific directory, domain or anything you can describe with a regular expression you need Site Spider. The author notes “Because this is a client-side spider, it uses your own authentication to access pages. Thus it can go wherever you have access to go. This plugin does not log any data or ‘phone home’ in any way. It is completely open source.” Site Spider gets a user rating of 3 out of 5, but looking through the comments, it appears that many users are, shall we say, clue deficient.

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Scraper

Scraper is a tool for scraping Web pages. It’s simple to use: “Highlight a part of the webpage you'd like to scrape, right-click and choose ‘Scrape similar....' Anything that's similar to what you highlighted will be rendered in a table ready for export, compatible with Google Docs.” Brilliant! For gathering data this is a must-have, and it gets 4.5 out 5 as a user rating.

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JSONView

JSONView is an extension that parses JSON contents, pretty-prints it, validates it, and makes it easy to navigate by making arrays and object sections collapsible. “You can configure JSON parsing method in options page: / - the default method (JSON content is extracted from displayed page) is faster but can (in some rare cases) alter or fail to parse the JSON content. / - the safe method costs an extra XMLHttpRequest request (JSON content is extracted from the HTTP response) but is 100% safe.” If you work with JSON, you need this tool. It’s rated 4.5 out of 5.

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User-Agent Switcher

If you test Web applications, you’ll most likely want to check how well different browsers are handled and User-Agent Switcher is what you need to mimic, spoof or fake other browsers, devices or search engine spiders. You can select from the predefined user-agents or add your own. Note that User-Agent Switcher does not render Web pages in the same way as the selected browser. User-Agent Switcher is rated 4.5 out of 5.

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EditThisCookie

As a Web developer, you’re going to always be messing with cookies, and EditThisCookie makes dealing with cookies really easy. The extension supports deletion, editing, creating, searching for, and exporting and importing cookies. You can also set maximum expiration dates on cookies, making them read-only, and selective blocking of cookies. EditThisCookie has a user rating of 4.5 out of 5.